Dandruff is an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition of the scalp that leads to flaking of the skin along with itching and inflammation.
The most common cause of dandruff is dry skin, but it can also be caused due to some specific skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or overgrowth of the fungus Malassezia.
And, although, there are numerous topical medications and shampoos for treating dandruff, it is best to begin with home remedies and natural treatments that address the condition in a gentle way without damaging or over drying the scalp and hair.
In this article, we have put together a number of time tested and effective home remedies to get rid of dandruff along with tips to prevent dandruff.
Ways to Prevent Dandruff
Wash your hair everyday – Maintaining proper hygiene can go a long way to prevent the development of dandruff in the first place. Make it a point to wash your hear once every day, be it in the morning or evening. It helps to keep your scalp and hair clean and prevents the build-up of sebum and dirt.
Use hair products sparingly – Styling products such as hair spray, wax, mousse and gel leads to product build-up on the scalp and attracts dirt and dust which clogs the pores and cause dandruff.
Manage Stress – Stress and anxiety can trigger dandruff or aggravate an existing condition. So, try to manage your stress tactfully and keep it under control.
Be Careful about your Diet – Studies show that a balanced diet that comes plenty of zinc, B-vitamins and healthy fats prevent the formation of fungi that causes dandruff.
Home Remedies to Treat Dandruff
1. Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is one of the most popular and widely used home remedies to cure dandruff. The strong anti-fungal properties of lemon fight off the fungi that causes dandruff and other scalp infection. The acids in lemon juice help to cleanse the scalp and remove dead skin cells and product deposits.
- Squeeze out the juice from a lemon
- Apply it to your scalp using a cotton ball
- Wait for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse with water
Caution: If you have sensitive scalp then raw lemon juice can cause a burning sensation. Dilute the lemon juice by mixing it in a cup of water and then apply it to your scalp.
2. Tea Tree Oil For Dandruff – Using tea tree oil mixed with your shampoo or regular hair oil is one of the most effective natural ways to cure dandruff because of the powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties of the oil. It helps to fight off the dandruff-causing fungi without drying the scalp.
- Add 10-12 drops of tea tree oil for every 8 ounces of shampoo
- Use this shampoo to wash your hair and scalp
- Let the foam sit on your scalp for 3 to 5 minutes
- Rinse your hair with water
Tip: You can also use tea tree oil for hot oil treatment. Just add a few drops to your favourite hair massage oil (coconut oil/olive oil) and apply it to your scalp.
3. Coconut Oil For Dandruff – The medium chain fatty acids, lauric acid and capric acid present in coconut oil have potent antifungal and antimicrobial properties that kill the fungus and bacteria that cause dandruff and other scalp infections. In addition, it also moisturizes the scalp and prevents dandruff and itching caused by dryness.
- Take 2 tablespoons of pure coconut oil in a bowl
- Pour some of it in your palms, rub it and apply it to your scalp
- Massage your scalp with gentle pressure of your fingers for 5 minutes
- Put on a shower cap and wait for 30 minutes and then wash off with a mild shampoo
- Tip – You can also add lemon juice or Neem juice to the oil before applying it to your scalp.
4. Neem – Neem or Indian Lilac is nature’s elixir for all types of skin and hair conditions. The natural oils in Neem help to soothe and heal the underlying inflammation in the scalp that is caused by dandruff and infections. Its anti-fungal properties destroy the fungi that cause dandruff and scalp itching.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil
- Add a handful of Neem leaves to it
- Let the water boil till it is reduced to half
- Let it cool and then strain the solution
- Use it to rinse your scalp after you take a bath
5. Apple Cider Vinegar For Dandruff – The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar helps to lower the pH of dull and greasy hair which is one of the main causes of oily dandruff. Apple cider vinegar is also a powerful disinfectant that kills the bacteria and fungi that causes dandruff and other scalp infections.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a large cup of water
- Pour this mixture over your scalp and hair after shampooing
- Massage it into your wet scalp and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly with water
6. Aloe Vera – Aloe vera gel addresses the problem of dandruff in multiple ways. The antifungal properties of aloe vera gel fights off the fungi that causes dandruff and infections. The anti-inflammatory compounds called glycoproteins found in aloe vera soothes the burning and itching sensation associated with dandruff. And above all, it moisturizes and nourishes the scalp and prevents flaking caused by dryness.
- Take 2 tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel in a bowl
- Wet your scalp before taking a bath
- Apply the gel evenly all over your scalp
- Let it sit for 15 minutes and then shampoo your hair
7. Garlic and Honey Paste – Raw garlic contains high levels of compound allicin that possesses anti-fungal and anti-Candida properties that prevents the overgrowth of fungi and yeast the cause dandruff and other scalp infections.
- Take a few cloves of raw garlic and crush it using a garlic press
- Let the crushed garlic sit for 15 minutes so that it gets enough time for allicin formation
- Now add a tablespoon of organic honey to it and mix well
- Apply this mixture to your scalp and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes
- Wash your scalp and hair using a mild shampoo
Caution – Those with sensitive skin and scalp should not use raw garlic directly on the scalp. It is best to dilute it with either honey or yogurt.
8. Baking Soda For Dandruff – This common kitchen ingredient works as an effective dandruff remedy for a number of reasons. Baking soda balances the pH of the scalp that makes it impossible for fungi and bacteria to thrive. The mild gritty nature of baking soda makes it a good exfoliant that removes dead skin cells and deposits from the scalp.
- Wet your hair and scalp
- Take some baking soda in your hand and rub it into your scalp
- Wait for 3 to 4 minutes and then rinse off with water
Caution – Baking soda can dry out your scalp so don’t leave it in for more than a couple of minutes in the scalp and use it sparingly.
9. Aspirin – This common medicine contains an active ingredient called salicylic acid that helps to keep dandruff in check. Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in most antidandruff shampoos.
- Take two aspirin tablets and crush them to make a fine powder
- Pour out a tablespoon of your regular shampoo in a bowl
- Add the aspirin powder to the shampoo and mix it with a spoon
- Use this shampoo to wash your hair
- Leave the shampoo in your scalp for 5 minutes and the rinse with water
10. Mouthwash – The antiseptic and antifungal properties of alcohol-based mouthwash kills the fungi and yeast that cause dandruff and scalp infections. In addition, it helps to soothe inflammation that causes itching and burning of the scalp.
- Add 1/4th cup of mouthwash to 1 cup of water
- Use this mixture as the final rinse after shampooing and conditioning your hair
- Don’t wash it off with water
The main aim of all these treatments are to reduce inflammation, heal the infection, kill the fungi and yeast and moisturize the scalp and it may take a while to promote all these actions simultaneously and show results, so you must be patient and consistent with the remedies of your choice and give them time to work.